Friday Q & A: The Slack Channels We Use, How We Do Research For Content Marketing and What Interview Questions We Ask Remote Workers

Friday Q & A: How We Do Research For Content Marketing
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Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

Happy Friday!

In our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, we’re answering any questions that you have about, well, anything.

A huge thank you to Greg Hickman, Jarratt Isted and Christopher Gimmer for this week’s questions.

Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!

What Slack Channels Have You Guys Created?

Friday Q & A

This has been an evolving list for us. My instinctive reaction is to not let a channel get cluttered with discussion would be better elsewhere, but it’s also far too easy to end up with channel creep. Here’s where we stand today:

  • #groove: Our “HQ” on Slack. This is where the team does our daily standups, and where “general” work-related discussion happens.
  • #customer-support: We’re (obviously) using the Groove/Slack integration, so this channel is the Groove firehose where all messages can be seen. It’s really helpful to get pinged on Slack when you’re mentioned in a Groove ticket.
  • #content: This is where we discuss and plan upcoming content across all of our blogs, and post new articles that get published (both our Groove posts and guest content elsewhere).
  • #lil-bit-of-awesome: Here, we share good news about Groove; positive emails from customers, press and blog mentions, metric milestones and more. Importantly, it’s also where people can give their teammates shout-outs for jobs well done.
  • #marketing-site: Our website is an always-on project, and all discussion about it, from copy to design to testing, happens here.
  • #production: Every time anything gets pushed to our production server, our developers post it in here. This keeps the whole team aware of what’s going on with the app.
  • #water-cooler: Quite literally our virtual water cooler. On any given day, you might find photos of pets sitting on keyboards, links from the weirdest corners of the internet or commiseration about whose kids kept them awake longest the night before.
  • #dev: This is mainly a channel for dev-related integrations like Pager Duty, Bugsnag, CircleCI and others. It’s also where our dev team chats when they need to discuss something across the entire team.
  • #staging: This is where updates and changes are posted before they’re pushed to production. We also have Pivotal Tracker integrated into this channel to keep us on top of who’s building what.

I’d certainly be curious to hear how others split up their channels in the comments.

How Do You Do Research for Your Content?

There are two types of research we do for our content:

  1. Research to better understand what readers are interested in learning about or solving. This is important because it helps us make our content more useful.
  2. Research to have corroborating data that makes our posts richer and more effective. This is important because it helps us get more people to take action from our content (e.g., you may believe me when I say something, but you’ll believe me a lot more if I have peer-reviewed research to back it up).

For the first kind of research, we use a combination of:

  • Parsing our blog comments, emails and Tweets for questions
  • Keyword research using Keyword Planner and Keyword Tool
  • Reading other blogs that have covered the issue (and especially the comments)

For the second, we use:

  • Books
  • Statista
  • Google (as well as Google Scholar and Google Books)

Much of the research for a given post is done well before we start writing it. That’s because of our Trello system for filing away anything we find that might be useful for future content.

What Interview Questions Should You Ask Remote Workers to Gauge Their “Remote Skills”?

Friday Q & A

I’ve said this many times before: a good worker isn’t necessarily a good remote worker. That’s because working remotely is a skill just like any other. It’s why we prefer to hire people who have successfully worked remotely in the past, or who have run their own businesses.

And while I’m not sure there’s a foolproof method, there are two questions that I’ve found very valuable in helping gauge whether a candidate will be an effective remote employee:

  • Tell me about how you like to work. Here, I’m listening for a thoughtful, deliberate workflow. Does the person have a dedicated space to work from? Do they take regular breaks? Are they methodical about communication and choosing what to work on next?
  • Why does working remotely appeal to you? Some people want more time with their family, while others are simply more productive at home. Both are perfectly valid reasons. Hating being around people or being averse to being managed, however, are not (at least not for the way we work).

Between these two questions – provided that the candidate answers them thoroughly and honestly – I feel confident that I can get a good enough sense of how effective someone will be at working remotely.

Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull Alex is the CEO & Founder of Groove. He loves to help other entrepreneurs build startups by sharing his own experiences from the trenches.